The Return of New York Fashion Week (NYFW), but with a Black Mirror type twist

Updated: Sep 15

With the return of New York Fashion Week this week, It will be a fashion month like no other. The coronavirus pandemic has brought a sudden halt to the traditional runway formatting, and in its place will be a mix of virtual and, in some cases, physical shows with limited audience numbers.

Creator: WWD/Shutterstock | Credit: WWD/Shutterstock

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) arrives first, running from September 13 to 17 ahead of London, Milan and Paris.

Organizers are adapting to difficult circumstances by hosting a number of outdoor events, with designer Jason Wu opening the schedule with a runway show on the rooftop of Spring Studios in Manhattan. He showcased his Spring-Summer 2021 collection to a small, socially distanced crowd of around 30 people, in a plant surrounded set inspired by Tulum, a small town in Mexico.

Check out Jason Wu's 2020 virtual show at NYFW now!

Returning fashion designers also included the likes of Anna Sui and Chromat, with a new age of digital presentations, while a number the fashion weeks usual suspects, such as Michael Kors, won't be participating this year.

Harlem's Fashion Row, which is a platform founded to promote diversity in fashion by supporting designers of color, also launched NYFW Sunday with a virtual array of collections by Black designers, including Kristian Lorén, Kimberly Goldson and Rich Fresh.

As reported by CNN, Harlem's Fashion Row is currently opening doors for talented Black designers to broadcast at the virtual events, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has created Runway360, which is an all new, digital platform that allows creatives to showcase new collections or other creative collaborations and projects they are currently working on during the socially-distanced era.

Harlem Fashion Row opened this years show. Creator: Mireya Acierto | Credit: Getty Images | Copyright: 2017 Getty Images

Even though the typically star-studded, excitement filled fashion week will be a completely different experience this year around, the change to digital entertainment may also make for more sustainable presentations. A recent report by Ordre, which specializes in online showrooms, found that international fashion weeks emit the same volume of greenhouse gases annually as a small country.

The new virtual shows are also giving emerging designers a chance to shine without all the usual hierarchies. According to CEO of the CFDA, Steven Kolb, there are 10 new American brands showing this week, including avant-garde mother-and-daughter luxury label Dur Doux, and Oak & Acorn, a Harlem-based sustainable denim brand that makes bold, genderless styles.

The new formats also allow space for offbeat labels to show the world what they are made of, including the newly revived early noughties collective, Imitation of Christ.

Creator: Peter White | Credit: WireImage Copyright: 2019 Peter White

Following NYFW, London Fashion Week will also be attempting a mix of in-person and digital events from September 17, as organizers contend with new corona-virus restrictions recently introduced in the UK following a recent spike in new cases. And while there's a growing fear that parts of Europe will see a new wave of Covid-19 cases, as reported by CNN, both Milan and Paris still, for now, plan to stage a number of physical shows towards the end of this month.

Meanwhile, as digital technology takes over the fashion industry, popular Chinese social media app TikTok is looking to engage with the new generation through its own online TikTok fashion month, partnering with labels such as Louis Vuitton, Alice + Olivia and Saint Laurent, among others, to livestream runway shows and present capsule collections to their younger-based audience across the world!

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